Bavarian Mountain Hound (Bayerischer Gebirgsschweisshund)

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deep red, deer red, reddish brown, tan, clear fawn to biscuit, reddish gray, brindled or interspersed with black hairs
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • forms strong bonds with its family
  • easy to groom
  • excellent hunter
  • chases all that moves
  • needs a lot of daily exercises

The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a working breed, which is specialised in tracking the game that has already been shot by hunters. Created in Germany in XIX century this dog has not yet gained much followings in hunting community outside its native country. It shows the best side of its nature in working environment so it won’t become the best choice for keeping as a solely family pet.

The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a relatively newly invented breed with its homeland in Germany. For centuries German aristocracy favoured hunting over all other ways of pastime. By the 1870’s it had already forfeited much of its abundant privileges and wealth but many noble people still were avid hunters and owned rather big packs. They were also highly interested in constant improvement of the hunting skills of their dogs. One of these affluent hunters was the Baron Karl-Bebenburg de Reichenhall, a member of the Bavarian Nobility. He preferred to hunt deer and other large game and was very proficient in his hobby but still there were cases when even heavily wounded animal managed to escape from his deadly gun. So the Baron realised that he needed so-called blood tracking dog, which will be able to trail a bleeding animal and lead the hunter to it.

Initially the Baron Karl-Bebenburg brought to his Bavarian estate several Hanoverian Hounds to use them for blood tracking. German hunters usually opted for this breed when things concerned scent tracking but the Baron found its characteristics unsuitable for working in such mountainous area as Bavaria. In particular the Hanoverian Hound was a comparatively large and massive dog and couldn’t keep up the pace with much lighter local dogs. That’s way he interbred this breed with a few others native to Bavaria and neighbouring territories. It’s still debated what other breeds were participants in these crosses. The Red Mountain Hound, the Tiroler Bracke, the Australian Black and Tan Hound are all among possible candidates. It’s rather likely that the Baron chose several various breeds to invent the Bavarian Mountain Hound. The resulting dog was a miniature version of the Hanoverian Hound but it was smarter, more agile and on the whole better fitted for hunting in highlands.

In the matter of decade the Bavarian Mountain Hound earned many fanciers among German hunters thanks to its excellent capabilities for working in harsh mountainous terrain. Up until recently its reputation of a superb blood tracking hound hasn’t spread outside its native country. Over the last few decades its popularity in the rest of the world has slightly increased. It seems that it has acquired the most considerable following in the United States where few breeders invest much time and effort to support the number of Bavarian Mountain Hounds. The breed was approved by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1996.

The Bavarian Mountain Hound was invented by the avid hunter and therefore its individual traits match perfectly to its working duties. The breed is prone to develop a tight bond with its human family and strives to always be by the side of its master. The majority of the dogs loves to be in the centre of attention and usually expresses its feelings openly and exuberantly. This breed requires a timely socialization in order to learn the basics of proper communication with younger members of the family.

Strangers are treated by the Bavarian Mountain Hound with certain amount of reserve and shyness. However this affable animal isn’t predisposed to open aggression and makes a poor guard dog. Being always aware of its surroundings it has potential to become a reasonable watch dog without the undesirable habit of on-going barking.

The Bavarian Mountain Hound is generally all right with unfamiliar dogs but it definitely needs to be appropriately socialized with them. It’s important to mention though that it feels itself much less comfortable in the presence of strange dogs than other scent hounds. Some specimens can become even outright aggressive towards other canines. The situation is even worse when things concern non-canine animals. As a tireless hunter the Bavarian Mountain Hound possesses strong hunting drive and presents mortal danger for all kind of species. The logic tells us that if the dog and other home pet have been brought up together they will treat each other respectfully in the maturity but no one can guarantee that with this breed.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• ear infections;
• eyes problems;
• demodex mange.

The Bavarian Mountain Hound is considered to be a low-maintenance breed. Its owner should brush the coat of the dog from time to time and bathe it once in two months. It’s absolutely necessary to clean the dog’s floppy ears on a regular basis since they tend to get easily infected or irritated without proper attendance. There are no proven reports as to the amount of shedding of the Bavarian Mountain Hound but it’s highly likely that it does shed, and probably quite intensely.

The training of the Bavarian Mountain Hound demands tons of dedication and commitment since it has stubborn streak in its character. Its handler should be an experienced and patient person, who will make allowances for the natural mulishness of the dog.

It’s especially hard to call the Bavarian Mountain Hound back when it’s captivated by some enticing smell or in the middle of the chase. The key to the training success with this breed lies in the systematic approach and reward-based techniques. This dog is somewhat sensitive to corrective methods of training so it would be wise to avoid using them.

The Bavarian Mountain Hound should spend a substantial part of its day in an active mode and therefore its owner requires great deal of commitment to keep this dog happy and healthy. It’s going to become a willing jogging partner but it would rather prefer to run and surf unrestrained in a securely enclosed territory.

If the dog has to live a sedentary life it will in time develop undesirable behavioural patterns for instance destructiveness, hyperactivity, constant barking. The perfect form of physical exercise for the Bavarian Mountain Hound is essentially hunting and it craves nothing more than a good chase.